In December, 2012, The Economist published an article suggesting that Kibera slum might be the most entrepreneurial place on the planet. That might as well be true according to my understanding as a lifelong resident of Kibera slum. In Kibera residents have no choice but to take care of themselves. For instance, if they want to escape poverty then they will have to go past the obvious and gather all the necessary resources to fight this penury among themselves.
Over 200,000 people live in Kibera. Most of the inhabitants here are low income earners and besides having jobs outside the slum, majority of them run numerous small businesses here in the ghetto, for instance in the case of one Mr. Mukite, besides working as a night security officer at some posh estate out of the slum, he also sells mandazi and chapatti during the day so as to get an extra buck that will push his family through the month, also in paying school fees and house rent. There are many such people in Kibera. If you take a walk along the streets of Kibera during the day, you will get to see a lot of small business taking places; from selling charcoal to frying fish, selling vegetables to operating money transfer kiosks (Mpesa).
Many of these people are self-employed and they try as much as possible to provide goods and service to the many people who live in Kibera. This is so because for many reasons Kibera seems to have been forgotten by the county government. Most of their services never gets to be enjoyed by the slum dwellers. However, this has prompted to the birth of many entrepreneurial minds and great innovators in the slum. People who are more than ready to help alleviate the poverty level in the slum. In so creating business for themselves they would also create employment to the many youths who are jobless.
Kibera by all means can be an easy place to live in as long as you use your brain and think out of the box. By far, Kibera is infamous since it is alleged that only poor people live here, but, to narrow everything down, among the poor live the rich who are always in the knowhow, constantly thinking of how they will make an honest living from what residents would need the most. In this ghetto city, business thrives 24 hours a day, and the streets are always full of people looking for something to buy either goods or services; In every street corner and alleyway in Kibera, there’s always a spaza, a kiosk, or a shop. When you go sleeping there’s always someone inside a mud-walled house with corrugated rooftops making money.
Bryan Jaybee was born and raised in Kibera slums where he still resides. He is 22 years old and a journalism student at Multimedia University of Kenya, currently in his final year. Bryan will be sharing an insider’s view on life in Kibera every Tuesday on our blog with his photos and words. You can follow Bryan on instagram at @kiberastories for daily posts on life in Kibera.